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Swim Healthy

  • By Jené Shaw
  • Published May 13, 2011
  • Updated May 17, 2011 at 6:09 PM UTC

Avoid Annoying Pool Issues


Chlorine kills a lot of bad stuff, but frequent swim training can still pose some pesky health concerns. Don’t let one of these issues get in the way of your next swim session.

Swimmer’s ear

Water left lingering in your ear after swimming could lead to an infection in the outer canal.

Prevent it: Swim with earplugs and rinse out ears with a product such as Swim-Ear ($5.39, Drugstore.com) that kills germs and evaporates water.

Treat it: There are lots of quirky home remedies—from laying your head on a sock filled with salt to rinsing your ear with garlic oil—but the quickest relief is prescription drops from a doctor.

Hair damage

Pool chemicals can be harsh on your locks, making them more susceptible to breakage.

Prevent it: Wet your hair before you get in the pool, and wear a swim cap. Your hair is less likely to absorb chlorine if it’s already wet.

Treat it: Wash your hair post-swim with a shampoo/conditioner with chlorine-removal properties, such as UltraSwim ($4.99, Walgreens.com) or TriSwim ($4.80, Shop.triswimbeauty.com).

Swimming pool rash

Chlorine can irritate skin and make it dry, itchy and, in some cases, turn into a rash.

Prevent it: Rinse off with warm water and antibacterial soap before you enter and immediately after you exit the pool. DermaSwim ($11.99, Dermaswimpro.com) is a pre-swimming lotion that can help block chlorine’s negative effects.

Treat it: If it worsens, take a bath with baking soda, then rub the affected areas with calamine lotion.

Irritated eyes

If there’s a chemical imbalance in the pool—either too little or too much chlorine—you could wind up with red, irritated eyes.

Prevent it: Wear goggles, especially if you wear contact lenses. After swimming, flush your eyes with an over-the-counter saline such as Artificial Tears ($3.49, Amazon.com).

Treat it: If eyes get really inflamed or progress into chemical conjunctivitis (aka pool-induced pink eye), head to the doctor.

FILED UNDER: Swim / Training TAGS: / / / / /

Jené Shaw

Jené Shaw

Jené Shaw is a senior editor at Triathlete magazine, a four-time Ironman finisher and a USAT Level 1 certified coach

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